Why is family important?
Through family we find ourselves as we give and receive support.
Family brings out the best and worst in each of us. As we yield to and serve others we learn to love them and ourselves in the process. Many of us could never approach this form of selflessness in any other way. There is something about a mother or a father, a son or a daughter. There is a connection there that binds us and asks more of us then we are normally willing to give. When we are true to ourselves and follow our feelings and share openly and honestly with our loved ones we remember why family is important. And we are well rewarded for our sacrifice as it enables us to better appreciate who we are. On the other hand, when we yield to our selfishness and take our family members for granted or treat them poorly we lose our sense of self-worth and begin to despise those whom we once loved.
In our day-to-day interactions with our family we find out by our words and actions what kind of a person we are and what's most important to us. The character Levin in Anna Karenina put his family first and found himself through faith in God focused by his suffering. In the story he explained, "my life now, my whole life, independent of anything that can happen to me ... every minute of it is no longer meaningless as it was before but has a positive meaning of goodness with which I have the power to invest it." This "positive meaning of goodness" that Leo Tolstoy began to unravel in Levin's life with the birth of his son can be acquired by each of us as we strengthen our own family relationships.
Our families hold the keys to understanding and appreciating ourselves. Who can relate better to us then our own brother or sister that shared so many experiences with us? Who can love us more selflessly then our own mother or father who sacrificed daily for so many years to raise us? The better we understand our parents and siblings the better we understand ourselves. This...